International Travel Registration

Effective: January 1, 2020
Reviewed/Updated: February 8, 2021
Contact: Office of Risk Management


Categories of ISU-Sponsored Travel
Policy Statement
Risk Level Assessment
Registration Timing
Traveler Responsibilities


Iowa State University is engaged in a variety of global initiatives and activities including research, service, outreach, recruitment, and study abroad. In order to facilitate these activities, the university needs to be able to provide appropriate resources to travelers, promote the safety and security of these travelers, and comply with domestic and international laws. These resources include providing international travel emergency assistance and health insurance, complying with export control regulations and the Fly America act, advising travelers of safety and security concerns, and providing material resources such as travel laptops and satellite phones. top


International Travel – Travel to countries outside the United States. For travel registration purposes, US territories and protectorates should be considered international travel, as well.

ISU-Sponsored Travel – Travel will be considered ISU-sponsored if it meets any one of the following criteria:

  • Funded in whole or in part by ISU funds, regardless of purpose, including funds administered by the university on behalf of a sponsored project and in conjunction with employee reimbursement expenses;
  • Part of a credit-bearing activity (study abroad); 
  • Undertaken by an ISU recognized student organization;
  • Undertaken by other official ISU organizations, including, but not limited to sport clubs, varsity athletic teams, academic or administrative departments;
  • Travel by a student that is actively arranged or organized by ISU faculty or staff;
  • Travel involving an ISU employee/volunteer exercising their official responsibilities;
  • Student travel accompanied by an ISU employee exercising their official responsibilities
  • Student travel resulting in work that will be considered for academic credit or is otherwise related to a student’s program of study; or
  • Any international travel by a faculty member in which they are engaged in research, teaching, or other activity that is part of their ISU employment, scholarship, or service. This excludes travel for outside consultancies or work engaged on behalf of other institutions or companies, unless such work is performed in conjunction with an ISU sponsored project.

Note: Travel that is self-funded and does not meet any of the criteria stated above (such as personal travel, tourism, home visit, etc.) is not ISU-Sponsored travel and is not subject to this policy. top

Categories of ISU-Sponsored Travel

  • Student Related International Travel – Student related travel is sponsored travel undertaken by any undergraduate or any credit-bearing activity. For group travel, any group that contains an undergraduate student immediately classifies the travel as student related travel for all travelers including employees, graduate/professional students, and volunteers.
  • International Business Travel – Business travel is sponsored travel undertaken by university employees, post-doctoral scholars, graduate/professional students, volunteers, affiliates, and student athletes that is not part of a credit-bearing activity or a student organization. This includes research, professional service, outreach, lecturing, site visits, professional development, international conferences, recruiting, and athletic competitions.

Itinerary Review – This process is an analysis of the risks associated with a particular itinerary undertaken by ISU’s international risk analyst. Depending on the complexity of the trip and the experience-level of the traveler this review can be as simple as a short phone call or as extensive as weeks of research by the analyst. top

Policy Statement

Iowa State University (ISU) is committed to the health, safety, and security of all members of its community who travel outside the United States. The goal of this university policy is to ensure that a consistent set of standards and expectations associated with ISU-sponsored international travel is followed by all units of the university.

In order to coordinate resources and information to best support travelers, all university members undertaking or organizing ISU-sponsored international travel must register each trip. This registration will be used for the following purposes:

  • Enroll the traveler in international emergency and medical insurance
  • Facilitate compliance with export controls
  • Register traveler for security alerts related to their itinerary
  • Coordinate assistance to traveler if a major incident threatens their safety during travel
  • Review itinerary for health, safety, and security

Student Related International Travel (except for athletic competition) must be registered with the Study Abroad Center (see Resources below). Student related travel must be approved by the Office of the Senior Vice President & Provost or its designee (such as the Education Abroad Committee, college dean, or department chair). Student related travelers should consult the Study Abroad Center to learn the appropriate process dependent on the nature of the travel. top

International Business Travel (including athletic competition) must be registered with the Office of Risk Management (see Resources below). Business travelers must complete the international travel processes as part of registration.

Faculty, Staff, and Post-Doctoral Scholars - For faculty, staff, and post-doctoral scholars, travel registration is not an approval process; however, travel to destinations that the Office of Risk Management has determined to be higher risk may require additional steps as indicated in the Risk Level Assessment section below.

Students & Volunteers - Students and volunteers must obtain approval from their college/unit for travel to high-risk countries and from their Senior Vice President or Provost for severe-risk countries. top

Risk Level Assessment 

Risk ratings for destination countries will be published on the Office of Risk Management’s website.

  • For travel to a minimal-risk or low-risk destination, the traveler must register the travel. Beyond required registration no further action is needed.
  • For travel to a moderate-risk destination, the traveler must register the travel and it is recommended that the traveler review the travel itinerary with the Office of Risk Management.
  • For travel to a high-risk destination, the traveler must register the travel and have the travel itinerary reviewed by the Office of Risk Management. The itinerary review will be shared with leadership at the traveler’s college/unit level. 
  • For travel to a severe-risk destination, the traveler must register the travel and have the travel itinerary reviewed by the Office of Risk Management. The itinerary review will be shared with leadership at the traveler’s college/unit and Senior Vice President levels.

No one may be required to travel to a location designated severe risk as defined in this university policy, unless such travel is included as essential duty of employment. top

Registration Timing

Travel should be registered as soon as the traveler(s) are aware of their travel dates and destination(s).

Traveler Responsibilities 

The university provides a wide range of resources and information to international travelers; however, it is ultimately the responsibility of the traveler to understand and account for the risks associated with travel. Individual travelers should take into account their own health, experience, and limitations when deciding whether to travel and how to stay safe while traveling, especially to higher-risk destinations. Travelers should abide by all university guidelines related to international travel, as well as any relevant US and international laws governing international travel. top